Cranborne Chase, Dorset, England
© Guy Edwardes/Minden Picture
Cranborne Chase, England
Today we’re at Cranborne Chase, a plateau in southern England touching the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. These 980 square kilometres of diverse countryside include rolling grasslands, river valleys, hillsides and ancient woodlands. The area has been inhabited since the stone age, and for centuries was a royal hunting ground – in fact, the word 'chase' comes from these hunts. Today, while Cranborne Chase is protected from most new development, it's not a wilderness – nearly 90% of the land is used for farming and more than 30,000 people live here.
Cranborne Chase has been designated a protected area because of its natural beauty. It may be especially beautiful in winter, when the trees and shrubs can be coated with hoarfrost, an uncommon type of frost that forms when water vapour turns directly into ice, missing the liquid stage.